2019’s Best Aftermarket Car Alarms to Protect Your Vehicle

These are the best car alarm systems to protect your vehicle with a balance of security features to foil thieves and convenient perks you’ll appreciate.
Written by | Updated March 25, 2019
Best Value
avital 5305L car alarmAvital 5305L
  • Remote start
  • 2-way key fob
  • Remote start
  • 2-way key fob
Best Range
python 5706P car alarm Python 5706P
  • Extensive battery life
  • Customizable sensors
  • Extensive battery life
  • Customizable sensors
Best Features
viper 5906V car alarmViper 5906V
  • Advanced encryption
  • Smartphone compatibility
  • Advanced encryption
  • Smartphone compatibility

The Bottom Line

Viper is a car alarm system stuffed with top-of-the-line security, but more affordable brands like Avital and Python have similar protection alongside convenient features you’ll appreciate. Our top three picks combine carjacking protection like kill switches and sirens with the comfort of remote start and two-way key fobs that provide visual status alerts for your vehicle.

Compare the Best Car Alarms

Remote Start
Smartphone Integration
Carjack Protection
Encryption
Learn More
Best Value
Best Range
Best Features
Avital 5305L
avital 5305L car alarm
Python 5706P
python 5706P car alarm
Viper 5906V (Responder HD)
viper 5906V car alarm
Viper 5305A
Avital 3100LX
avital 3100lx 3-channel keyless entry car alarm
Yes Yes Yes Yes No
No Yes Yes Yes No
Yes Yes Yes Yes No
No No Yes Yes No
Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon

Data effective 03/25/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Product Reviews: Best Car Alarm Systems

Avital 5305L: Best Value

Avital is the budget-savvy sister system of high-end car alarm brands Viper and Python, offering similar features from the same manufacturer. Avital’s 5305L car alarm system has all the recommended security like shock sensors and panic mode, as well as flashing lights, a blaring 120-decibel siren, and a kill switch that protects against carjacking. Unlike lower-end Avital models, this car alarm features a two-way, LCD pager loaded with conveniences like keyless entry, remote start, trunk release, and Valet Mode. The four auxiliary ports let you beef up the system with additional sensors, all for a price that’s a steal.

Beware that any bargain comes with some loss of benefits. In addition to a mediocre range of 1,500 feet, Avital’s lack of smartphone integration means you won’t have the convenience of GPS tracking built into your car alarm system.

If you have a manual transmission, this system should not be used.

Pros

  • Carjack protection
  • 2-way LCD key fob remote
  • Remote start
  • 4 auxiliary ports for easy expansion

Cons

  • Poor range (1,500 feet)
  • No smartphone integration
  • Not for manual transmissions

Python 5760P: Best Range

Python car alarm systems fall somewhere between budget brands like Avital and luxury labels like Viper, offering an impressive array of features for a reasonable sticker price. With a one-mile range, Python 5706P easily outperforms other alarm systems in the same price bracket without sacrificing details like remote start and an LCD remote. This system also has multiple inputs for expansions and a long battery life in comparison to other car alarm systems. Built-in shock sensors and an array of other sensors you can customize for sensitivity make Python more than just a loud siren to scare away would-be car thieves.

Like any product, Python does come with some faults. Two standouts are the higher cost of the system compared to similar systems and the hassle of installation, which should be done by a professional to comply with the warranty terms. While it does have smartphone capabilities, they aren’t fully integrated and require purchasing additional modules.

Pros

  • Long range
  • Customizable sensors
  • 2-way LCD key fob
  • Carjack protection
  • Longer battery life

Cons

  • Moderately expensive price
  • Professional installation required for warranty
  • Not for manual transmissions
  • Limited smartphone capabilities

Viper 5906V: Best Features

Best Features
viper 5906V car alarm

If you’re looking for the Cadillac of aftermarket car alarm systems, Viper should be your first stop. The company has an industry reputation for offering the best car alarm systems available, but those extra features come with a price tag to match. Viper has invested in the latest security like advanced encryption, customized sensors, and multiple kill switches, and it fully integrates with your smartphone. True to Viper’s reputation for excellence, the color OLED display in the remotes is unlike anything you’ll find in other systems, and the one-mile range places the company at the top.

The Viper 5906V is not, however, the kind of car alarm system you can install yourself. You’ll need to visit a certified dealer or run the risk of invalidating your warranty. Of course, the Viper’s cost can be prohibitively expensive for many car owners and is probably most attractive to those who have a ride that’s worth the extra protection.

Pros

  • Lots of protection features
  • Color OLED display
  • Multiple kill switches and encryption
  • Long range (one mile)
  • Smartphone functionality

Cons

  • Professional installation required for warranty
  • Expensive price tag
  • Large remote

More Car Alarm Options Worth a Look

Viper 5305A

If you want all the prestige a Viper sticker decal can confer without the price tag, then this is the car alarm security system for you. With a two-way LCD remote, the Viper 5305A still sports handy features like remote start accompanied by protection from shock sensors, a 120-decibel siren with six different tones, and a kill switch. But it doesn’t come with out-of-the-box smartphone integration, so you’ll have to purchase a separate module.

Avital 3100LX

When you want just the basics, turn to Avital’s best-selling car alarm system, the 3100LX. As the least expensive model on our list, the Avital doesn’t pop the trunk with lots of extras, but you also won’t be skimping on security essentials. This model also offers a car-finder “panic” button and keyless entry, and it’s one of the few on our list that’s simple enough to support DIY installation.

Things to Consider before You Buy a Car Alarm

Most modern vehicles come equipped with a basic alarm system, but these bare-bones measures aren’t robust enough to deter professional car thieves. Experts recommend a range of bells and whistles to avoid car theft and give your ride the protection it deserves. Plus, when you opt for an aftermarket car alarm system, you usually get a few convenient features bundled in. Here are some of the basics to look for before choosing a car alarm system.

Alarms and Sensors
At the minimum, your car alarm system should make some noise when the sensors are tripped. Opt for advanced shock sensors that will respond when glass is broken and when the vehicle is hit by a significant impact, sending alerts to either your alarm remote or smartphone. Look for sirens that edge above 100 decibels and do more than honk the horn and flash the lights to grab attention.

Range
Some car alarm systems boast a phenomenal range of up to a mile, but it’s not clear why you’d benefit from being able to arm your vehicle from that distance. Instead, look for a car alarm system with moderate range that has a passive (instead of active) alarm, which means it will arm itself. That way, you’ll be confident your alarm is set every time you walk away.

Carjack Protection
Carjack protection is a group of features that actively thwart car theft. These options include kill switches, high-pitched sirens, and chirp alarms that may hassle the thief into abandoning your vehicle. While these kinds of security measures may seem redundant, they’ve been shown to effectively deter car thieves or interrupt vehicle theft in action.

Two-Way Remotes and Displays
Modern car alarm systems generally have two-way communication, meaning you can arm your car at a distance and also receive notifications from the alarm system on your remote. In some cases, these key fobs even use an LCD display to detail conditions of your car like the internal temperature or open doors.

Encrypted Transmission
Not all car thieves use a crowbar or Slim Jim to get into your car. Tech-savvy thieves know how to hack the signal from your key fob and unlock your car remotely. That’s why smart car alarm companies are adding encryption to their wireless car alarms. If you like the convenience of remote entry, you might want to look for a vehicle security system that incorporates encryption to keep hackers out of your car.

Smartphone Integration
It’s no surprise that along with keyless cars comes car security you can control from your smartphone. Leading vehicle security companies like Viper use cloud technology to put remote control and monitoring in the palm of your hand. Mobile apps let you check in on your vehicle and receive email and text alerts without having to carry around an extra remote or key fob. Often, these apps also provide GPS tracking that can be enormously helpful in the case of theft.

Ease of Installation
Installing a car alarm system involves a lot of wires and fiddling around with your car’s electrical system. Because it can be complicated, we recommend professional installation. However, this can raise the overall price of a car alarm by several hundred dollars. If you’re knowledgeable and want to attempt DIY installation, you’re not alone. Many handy car owners have successfully installed their alarm system, but beware that DIY installation might impact any warranty on the equipment.

Convenience Features
Many car alarms will also let you remotely start your vehicle, which can be a big benefit on cold mornings when you need to defrost your windows and heat up those seats before your commute. Car alarm systems often provide extras like keyless entry, valet mode, and trunk release that can make your life just a little easier when you have your hands full.

Car Alarm System FAQs

Will my car alarm drain the battery?

When installed correctly, modern aftermarket car alarm systems should not place a significant strain on your battery. That’s one of the many reasons we recommend professional installation for the car alarm systems we review. If you have concerns, check the manufacturer’s specifications for details about the anticipated burden on your battery.

Can I install my car alarm system myself?

As with most products, your ability to self-install will depend on the complexity of the system and your expertise. We recommend professional installation for car alarm systems because there is a risk you could invalidate your warranty or place a strain on the battery with improper installation.

What else can I do to protect my car from being stolen?

Avoiding car theft is about more than outfitting your ride with a state-of-the-art alarm system. Consider additional measures like steering wheel locks, or choose an option from our best car dash cams for extra security. The more redundant protection measures you take, the less likely it is that your car will become a target

What first steps should I take if I suspect my car is stolen?

Naturally, you should contact authorities, but you can do so armed with additional information if you have a car alarm system with GPS tracking. There are some common sense measures you can also take if you’re dealing with a car break-in to make things like insurance claims and police reports a little easier on everyone involved.

Can my car alarm system be easily disconnected or disabled?

How quickly your car alarm system can be disabled depends on the security features it’s equipped with and the skill of the thief attempting to steal your ride. While they might be a headache during false alarms, carjacking protections like kill switches and advanced encryption are two key factors that can determine how easily car thieves hotwire your ignition or bypass your car alarm.

How We Chose the Best Car Alarms

We chose the car alarm systems on this list after extensive review of product information and specifications from company websites, expert recommendations, customer reviews, and company ratings from third-party organizations like the Better Business Bureau and AM Best.

Written by Kaz Weida

Kaz is a journalist who covers home security, parenting, and community and child safety. Her work and product testing in the security and safety field spans the past four years. You can find Kaz in HuffPost, SheKnows, Lifehack, and much more. Her degree in education and her background as a teacher and a parent make her uniquely suited to offer practical advice on creating safe environments for your family. Learn more

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